An Unbalanced Life: Dealing with Divorce
An Unbalanced Life
I. AM. SO. TIRED.
Andrew wants me to sleep with him.
I would love to snuggle, but all I can think about is climbing into my own bed and watching the TV shows I’ve recorded. Part of me feels guilty. I want to be there for my child and help him feel secure. Another part of me just wants to be alone. I know if I lie down with him, I’ll be asleep before he is.
I. AM. SO. TIRED.
Ugh. What am I thinking? I’ve got to finish the laundry, the dogs haven’t been fed, and I’ve got work to do. I … am … too … tired. I’ll do it tomorrow.
Where’s the balance?
My days have no balance. I have to choose. Choose to be with my child one night as he drifts off to sleep, and then choose chores the next. Squeeze in my mindless relaxation—my TV shows—when I can.
It’s the nature of being a divorced mom. I have no one to help me. It is tiring. It is hard. But I know I can do this. I don’t get to say, “I think I can,” like the hopeful little engine in storybooks. I must muster only a definitive, show-no-weakness chant, “I CAN.”
“I can, I can, I can, I can …. “
4 Tips for Rebalancing an Unbalanced Life
I wrote the story above when Andrew was little and life seemed overwhelming. Sometimes all we can do is accept the reality of the life we have right in this moment. Since then, I’ve found some ways to find balance in my life that I’d like to share with you. Some of these ideas I use myself, and some are ideas I’ve gathered from other places. I’d love to hear how you find balance in your life as well!
1) Notice that life has seasons.
Does nature have a balance of sun and rain on any given day? Nope! You might live where you see rain or snow for 6 months of the year and lots of sun the other 6 months. Or your state might have a nicely balanced 4 seasons, but if you took just one random week in the year and looked for balance you still wouldn’t find it. You still might see snow that whole week or sun for a month straight. Look for the seasons in your life, and notice the balance in the bigger picture.
2) Ask for help and give help.
If you’re a single parent (or married with a sick or absentee spouse), you might really be feeling the lack of another adult in the house to immediately turn to for help. You might need to be intentional about finding help from people who don’t live with you. Someone else might be in the same boat. Ask for help when you need it and offer it when you can. Remember again that life has seasons, so this might be a season of a lot of asking and that’s ok. Your turn to help will come around.
3) Find little moments of peace in the chaos.
If your life is lacking any balance of alone time and parenting time, try to find little moments when your kids are busy to check in with yourself. Take some deep breaths, notice how you feel, and see if you can meet one small need by stretching, drinking a glass of water, eating something, stepping outside for sunshine, or reading a page of your book. When your child needs you again, step fully into that moment as well. What needs can you meet together? Maybe you’d both benefit from a dance party or a walk or a snuggle.
4) Some things are more important to balance than others.
It’s helpful to notice the balance over the course of a season, but that concept doesn’t apply to food water, sleep, shelter, and human touch and connection. Those are needs that must be met daily. Prioritize balancing those things by scheduling in specific times to do them, and not letting less important matters take precedence. You might feel like everything is on fire, but the fires will be easier to put out after you’ve eaten something and taken a 20 minute power nap.
What are some things that have helped you find balance in your life during busy or chaotic seasons?
Have you ever noticed when you go into a classroom without assigned seating that everyone sits in pretty much the same place every time anyway? Do you do that? Do you have your favorite seat in math class, because it’s by your friend, and your favorite seat in Spanish class, because you can look out the window? I know lots of teens and adults who are this way.
Humans are creatures of habit.
If the teacher walks into the classroom and announces a new seating chart or that everyone has to move to the other side of the room, if you’re like most of us, you will moan and groan. Why? You can’t talk to your friend during class anyway. The other side of the room isn’t vastly different. Why do you feel like it’s a big deal?Read More
All I wanted was to pull in my garage, walk in my house and go to bed. After a long day of traveling, I was so tired and couldn’t wait to go to sleep. I pulled in the garage, got out of my car and walked to the back door. I hit the garage door button, and the door began to close. Then it stopped. I punched the button again. The door went back up. I hit the button. The door began to lower and then went right back up.Read More
I didn’t think about it until it was too late.
Andrew had to wear a tie to school.
It’s customary for the football players to dress up on game days. I knew this, but I had never equated “dressing up” to wearing a tie—a tie that Andrew didn’t know how to tie—until now.
Our lifestyle rarely requires Andrew to wear a tie, and in the past when one was required, he’s chosen a pre-tied bow tie. But now that he was in high school, he wanted to wear a regular tie.
It was 6:00 am, I am a single mom, his dad doesn’t live with us, and neither Andrew nor I knew how to tie a tie. In 15 short minutes, we needed to leave for school.
Andrew came barreling down the stairs, freaking out.Read More